NORTHVILLE - Village residents showed up at a Planning Board meeting Tuesday to protest a proposed Family Dollar store on Main Street.
People holding protest signs with slogans such as "No Family Dollar" and "Tourist Dollars, Not Family Dollar" questioned why the village needed the store, which sells department store items at discount prices. Some residents expressed anger and concern over what would happen to the village if the store goes up.
"My question is, have any of the big boys from Family Dollar come and seen our village?" village resident Teresa Greenhill said. "When you're proposing how to make it look pretty for us, did you walk Main Street and walk the other streets to see the beautiful painted lady at Tops?"
People hold protest signs made of paper plates Tuesday night during a meeting of the Northville Planning Board, which reviewed a proposal for a Family Dollar store on North Main Street.
Photos by Arthur Cleveland
"The big boys need to come see who we are before they come and tell us what we need," Greenhill said.
Local resident Joe Conners asked if Family Dollar wants to come to Northville because it thinks the village is a low-income area.
"We are not a low-income area; you are in the wrong place," Conners said. "You come here after Labor Day, the town is dead. You aren't going to sell anything until spring time. In fact, you are going to put a 99-year-old company out of business, the [Northville 5 and 10]."
"We [have] a dime store that is sort of a historic building. As far as most people go, we would hate to see that go," said village resident Don Ferguson.
Village resident Janet Meuwissen said a Family Dollar would take away from the village's slower-paced atmosphere.
"Deciding in favor of this proposal has the potential to take away from the community what it uniquely stands for. This is only the beginning of a change process," Meuwissen said.
The Northville Planning Board is reviewing the proposal for the store, which would be built at 192 N. Main St.
Kenneth Brownell, a partner with Maple Development Group, and Rob Osterhoudt, a project manager with Bohler Engineering, presented a preliminary site plan to the board Tuesday.
Brownell said he was asked by Family Dollar to look into the construction of a new store in the village.
Currently, the lot is partially vacant. The includes a former bank building, which dates back to the 1890s.
Osterhoudt said the plan would include demolishing the building and constructing the store and an access driveway. Osterhoudt said the building would be 80-by-104 feet and include 26 parking spaces and a loading zone. The project would cost about $1.3 million and bring in roughly $100,000 in tax revenue, he said.
"What we are looking at with the site is a code-compliant plan," Osterhoudt said.
Some board members raised concerns about the project's details.
Darryl Roosa, chairman of the board, asked if the engineers had thought about using the old bank as part of the Family Dollar to save it from demolition.
Osterhoudt and Brownell said Family Dollar would need a open floor plan with no blind spots.
"Unfortunately, it is very difficult to take an existing structure and modify it," Osterhoudt said.
Roosa asked if the group had considered moving the structure closer to the road, but Osterhoudt said that would leave no room for trucks.
Carl Sedon, a Planning Board member, said he is concerned about what the store would do to the village.
"Don't you feel there is a saturation point?" Sedon asked.
He said he feared the village's small-town atmosphere would be affected by the construction.
Fulton County Planning Department Planner Scott Henze said the construction would be for a retail establishment in a commercial zone, which would be a permitted use.
"The Planning Board cannot deny retail-use projects in a commercial zone based upon its use," Henze said. "The Planning Board cannot deny a retail- use project with an idea that it's going to negatively affect an existing building."
Roosa said Brownell and Osterhoudt will have an opportunity to review the Planning Board's concerns and then come up with a final site plan for the Planning Board's review.